Troubled Jonas speaks out

Talented boxer Jonas Junias Jonas has opened up about his troubled past.

17 September 2021 | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMI

WINDHOEK

Namibian boxer Jonas Junias Jonas has won everything except an Olympic medal, and that is one thing which continues to haunt him.

The 27-year-old Jonas’s brilliance in the ring has seen him win 24 of his 30 fights. He has, however, not replicated this success in his life outside the boxing ring.

In 2016, at the Rio Olympics, he was accused of sexual assault by a cleaner at the athletes’ village where he stayed and was arrested. He was allowed to compete, but lost his first-round fight to Hassan Amzile of France in the light welterweight division. Thereafter spent about eight months in Brazil awaiting a decision, unsure of his future.

Through intervention by the Namibian embassy in Brazil and because there was little evidence to implicate the Namibian boxer, the case was thrown out. But the ordeal left a very deep scar which wasn’t dealt with.

In April this year, prior to the Tokyo Olympic Games, Jonas was arrested again, this time in his home town of Swakopmund. He was charged with attempted murder and assaulting a police officer.

Jonas maintained his innocence and was granted bail to travel to Tokyo to represent the country, but again he left no mark.

He was defeated by Australia's Harry Garside in the men's lightweight round of 16 and had to return home empty-handed.

Jonas said he took time out after the Games to reflect.

“The arrest saga two months before my second Olympic Games got to me. Even though I acted fine. I was in fear. I wasn't myself even though I acted okay. But it was visible but no help came. Mixed emotions and confusion hit me so hard.

“I needed time to recover, I thought I had it under control but it cost me another medal,” the boxer said.

Jonas has not had the benefit of therapy to help him deal with the ordeal. He said he is unemployed and this means money for counselling is limited.

He added, however, that his dream is alive and well and that he is trying to deal with the effect the arrest had on him.

“I don’t want to delve too much into the past. All I know is that I don’t want to sit at home. I don’t give up easily.

“My starvation and will to feed my family are forcing me to turn professional, and I still owe myself and people who support my dreams a gold medal.”

He mentioned the likes of the secretary-general of the Namibia Olympic Committee, Joan Smith, his coach Albertus Tsamaseb, his mother and family members as his greatest sources of inspiration. He added that he owes the Namibian nation gold at the Olympic Games.

This is something he can still do even after turning professional; he just needs to limit his professional fights to eight.

Jonas is a Commonwealth Games silver and gold medallist (2014 and 2018), and also an African Games silver and bronze medallist (2015 and 2019).

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